shortage

I can’t recall all the times I was told by someone I was arresting they would “have my badge!” They assured me they knew “someone important” and I would soon feel their wrath and be fired. This usually sent a sarcastic shiver down my spine. I’d heard it so many times, it honestly became funny after a while. Especially when the person was guilty as sin, or being arrested for something like an outstanding warrant. Something I had zero part in causing. I was simply doing my job bringing them to the house of accountability (jail).

Sorry, not sorry.

These days, it seems people are all about one thing, emotions. No one cares about common sense or accountability anymore. Everything is about ensuring everyone is treated with “kid gloves” even when it comes to law enforcement. The police officer is the one in the wrong these days, not the criminal. I’m sorry, “alleged” criminal. That is really where we are in society. When you go sit in a courtroom, the police officer is actually the one on trial, not the accused. Even with the implementation of body cameras, I can assure you the officer is still mostly the one on trial. Now it isn’t good enough if everything is captured on video, it’s about whether or not the officer was perfect. Did they do everything perfectly? If not, let the criminal walk.

Fine, just don’t throw tantrums when crime skyrockets. I’m telling you now, it’s going to happen. Then and only then, will the pendulum swing back to supporting police. The citizens will beg us to rid the streets of those who cause the rest of us harm. The kicker is many fail to realize the police are simply one “cog” in the wheel of justice. The latest trend across the country of District Attorneys moving the goal posts regarding what crimes will be prosecuted is more concerning than the current lack of respect our society has for law and order. At least that can be remedied come election time. Interesting times to say the least. But, just like the economy, the housing market, and fashion trends, it’s all cyclical.

(Insert obligatory “not defending bad policing” paragraph here)

While pointing out the truth about how things are these days, I’m obliged to say I am not advocating for lackluster policing. Sloppy police work should never be the bar in which we set our standards. Short cuts and corruption have always been condemned since I started this website almost one year ago. So save yourself the time of rattling off in the comments or sending me an angry email, suggesting I advocate for lazy, corrupt, or shortcut taking in police work, because I don’t.

What I am wondering, is when will we go back to the “good old days” where we respect police officers? When will we put the blame back where it belongs, on the ones committing the crimes or the ones FIGHTING the police? It isn’t the officer’s fault when the bad guy runs, fights, and gets hurt then cries foul alleging police brutality in the end. I have yet to see a video where the officer yells, “Run bad guy! Run! We want to chase you and fight to get you in handcuffs! I enjoy being scraped up, spit on, and hurt myself! So run you S.O.B!” Then suddenly the bad guy takes off running and they end up rolling around in clouds of smoke like a scene from a cartoon.

Sorry, it just doesn’t happen that way.

Even better is the new trend when an officer is fighting with a suspect, people stand there recording the incident like a bunch of moronic robots trying to get the latest TMZ video. Why is this a new trend? I’ll tell you why. We have allowed the pendulum of morality to swing so far out of whack, instead of putting the phone down and helping the police officer, we film them while saying ignorant things like, “That’s excessive force!” With help, the fight could be over quickly and no one gets hurt, but nah, stand back and criticize while recording. Good stuff.

Skinny jeans. I blame skinny jeans. I think they restrict blood flow to the brain. (Shrug) It’s not scientific. I’m just in a sarcastic mood today.

A work environment like this that has a lot of officers simply choosing to find other professions. There’s a saying, “Welcome to law enforcement, where you are equally hated for both doing and not doing your job.” It’s true. And I don’t care what anyone says, it would take a toll you too. I don’t think anyone would enjoy going to work on a daily basis constantly feeling as if they’re under attack or heavy scrutiny. I’m not saying under attack like actually being shot or hurt every day. Though, assaults on officers are statistically on the rise, likely due to that whole lack of respect for authority thing we have going on.

I’m also not saying police officers shouldn’t be scrutinized, held to a higher standard, or held accountable when they are clearly in the wrong. I’m simply saying the constant scrutiny in the media and from within the department, takes a heavy toll on officers. It’s just a simple fact. That’s the message I’m trying to convey to those who’ve never worn the badge and gun or been a police officer. It’s a heavy burden and it is that burden that is creating the nationwide shortage of police officers. Fewer people are applying and people are leaving the profession at record rates, creating a shortage. Would you sign up today? Many people I talk to say, “Not a chance.”

After a few years, I think some officers just say “screw it.” They eventually get to the point where they feel it’s not worth the backlash and potential life altering repercussions of a “bad day” at work. Fired, stabbed, shot, killed, on the news, or in prison. A heavy price to pay for making a mistake or simply showing up to a car accident scene.

So some quit. Some tough it out and are miserable, likely on a path of self-destruction. Others love it and rise to the occasion every single day. Thank goodness for them. We need them more than ever.

However, I feel that many officers these days eventually feel the same way…

You want my badge? You can have it.

There’s plenty of ways to make $40,000-$80,000 a year.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

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33 Comments »

  1. if you actually lived next door, I’d be the granny making sure you knew how much you’re appreciated. I am so thankful for the men and women who choose to serve, and protect our communities every day. It’s a selfless act, and under appreciated job. May God always keep you safe.

  2. We got it in Communications, as well. “I’ll have you job!” Some days I would gladly have pulled the chair out for them & even cleaned the headset & keyboard! Funny how no one ever showed up.

  3. I am 65 years old. I got into law enforcement late in life at the ripe old age of 30. Two days before I turned 65 I found myself in a fight with a 19 year old as passers by videoed the proceedings. A gentleman finally came forward to help my partner and I as I was finally able to deploy my taser. I looked around as blood poured from cuts on my face and arms and wondered what I was still doing on this job. I keep telling myself just a few more years. That’s getting harder to do.

    • Wow! Good for you…… the bigger question coming from someone in his 20th year of service is; Why at 65 years of age with 35 years on the job are you still doing the job? Thank you for your service and God Bless!

  4. I have been retired for the past 2 years and definitely feel your words. You hit it on the money!!!!!!

    Please keep writing with that kind of passion and true feelings.

  5. Okay I think this could be an easy fix do the respect problem. We have law week so why can’t we have cops week. Cops week would be a week police across the country have off. This will give them time to sit back recharge enjoy their families and Friends. This will give the country first-hand look of what police do on the job everyday. I don’t think it will take a week before all law enforcement is begged to come back to work. This should also quiet those that want to disarm police officers. This is just following the old saying you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Stay safe out there.

  6. My child gets up every day, puts his uniform on, straps a very heavy belt on, puts his name tag, badge on, so he can protect and serve, as a mother of an officer, how would you like your child to go to work be shot at, stabbed, run after someone on drugs, spit on, hit, called names, not get to eat sometimes 12 hour shifts because there’s always that call, there’s always a call, my child loves his job, he was born to do this, since he was 8 years old that’s all he wanted to do, for what??? I’m ashamed of our country at times, people say I hate cops, well stop calling them when your getting your ass beat, or a drunk driver hits and kills your family, your asleep and someone’s breaking in, stop calling them, you hate them remember!!!! As a mother my child is like every mother out there, that’s your baby these morons are hurting, stabbing, being shot at, called names,!!!!

  7. We will go back to the “good old days” where we respect police officers when all the genuinely rotten police officers who have been hiding behind the thin blue line are turned in by all the cops who want to be respected.

  8. I am a retired teacher from a big city public school. I felt relief whenever there was a police officer in my school. I did not feel that way when their presence was gone. I know I would feel that way if there were no police. Thanks to all of our law enforcement officers, for their life is on the line with each call.

  9. When you become a cop you join a cult, and being a member entails adopting a whole new set of ethics by which you judge yourself and other members.

    Thus you might be a good husband and a good friend, and you might strive to behave ethically, but as part of the cult you now believe, eg, your job is far more dangerous than it is, that citizens pose a far greater threat to you than they do in fact, that you are entitled to default respect from all citizens and you’re entitled to use the discretion you’re given by the people to enforce that entitlement with violence.

    Because the public/media/government oversight is the enemy, everyone is out to get you, and it’s your job to punish the people you think deserve to be punished, it’s now totally ethical to break the law — falsify arrest reports, lie under oath, lie to secure warrants, etc. — when you believe doing so serves some greater good. And lucky for cops, they believe they’re the ones who get to determine which goods are greater.

    That’s how one-time well-meaning cops become bad cops right alongside the ones that signed up for the license to kill.

    It’s very similar to how, eg, journalists and politicians start out having a conscience, quickly become evildoers, but still genuinely believe they’re doing god’s work….

    • Yeah. And it’s also true that the bad officers you speak of that lose their way ethically are truly less than 1% but they get all the media attention. So the inverse of your point of view applies as well. If you want to see only the bad and corrupt, you will.

    • From a retired office, the person who wrote has a grudge against PO. He must be the person who can’t see the forest for the trees and has never liked or respected what an office goes thru daily

  10. The other thing you forgot to point out is the number of us who end up injured (mentally or physically) due to street and/or office “games”. We are forced to take an early retirement for the disability and the costs associated with that as a result are huge. I remember hearing in my academy class that 75% of Police Officer careers end within 6 years. That was in the 90’s. 3 out of 4 would either quit, be fired (some due to arrest), suffer a career ending injury, or be dead. That was still the “good old” days. I can only imagine what it is like now.

  11. I agree with a lot of what you said. However, “When you go sit in a courtroom, the police officer is actually the one on trial, not the accused.” Um….obviously? Ever heard of “innocent until proven guilty”? The accused is supposed to be assumed to be correct in court until the prosecutor can prove (often with the help of officers) that they’re guilty. Idk why you’re complaining about that. 🙄

    • Yeah. And I firmly believe it innocent until proven guilty.

      I followed it up and explained what I meant in terms of expectations of perfection.

      Meaning they are literally on trial not the accused. I also followed it up and said it’s expected and okay because we should be held to the highest standards.

      Lastly, I’m not complaining. I’m highlighting factual aspects of the job police officers face that are creating the vacuum and shortage across the country. If you want to call it complaining, be my guest. But the fact is everything I said is true.

  12. One of the risks, or negatives about police work has always been to stereotype the public negatively. I am not saying it isn’t more justified today, but I remind all officers that there are many, many civilians who support you. We do not agree with the way you are treated by the courts, not to mention many of the public and press.
    We, the majority, thank God for those willing to put on the badge every day.

  13. I couldn’t agree more. I get so sick of the social justice crap and the PC bullshit. Also dealing with ungrateful people who think we are judge, jury and executioner and hearing the same shit “yall dont ever do anything about it”. I can’t wait to finish up my bachelor’s degree so I can get out of this shit.

  14. I retired 5 years ago after 33 years of service in 2 states. Tx and NM.
    I was brought up in this business taught that you respected your superior officers and you progress through attrition. I lived and remained true to that training my entire career. My last 14 years of servic I saw a dramatic change in attitudes from “millennial “ cops coming on board. They wanted the best shifts, the best days off, the new cars and all the toys given to them, or they would complain to the Chiefs. They weren’t about to start at the bottom. They came on board with the understanding that either they got what they wanted or screw you, I’m going somewhere else
    And oh my God. Don’t you even jump on my ass or yell at me because I did some little mistake that almost got me or my fellow officers hurt or killed. And training!! I don’t need to go to Officer Survival. I learned that crap in the college academy. ( not man enough to go to a real academy. Had to go to a college class room style academy).
    Oh and by the way, I don’t really care that you have been here for 15 or more years, I’m taking my vacation when you usually take yours or I’m going to the Chief and I’ll get my way.
    Think I’m kidding? You think this doesn’t really go on today ?
    Well if it doesn’t in the department you work for, you are one lucky sob. Or you don’t hire these ENTITLED millinials.
    You see, these young ones today have been brought up being taught that they are entitled to the best NOW. Not later. It’s in every job. Not just police work.
    Well, I am glad I’m out. I survived only because I was trained that I’m not entitled and I will start at the bottom and work my way up. I was a supervisor most of the last 15 years of my career. I dealt with the entitled. I didn’t play their game or give in to their wants and wishes. And I got complained on. But you know what? I survived and I went home alive. Some of them don’t only because they think being a cop is riding around In a pretty car and a pretty uniform is cool. And it is, until you get your ass kicked or shot off

    Moral of the story here is, you want to be a cop, learn from the old timers and you’ll survive. This ain’t no job for entitled millennials.

  15. I just retired after 32 years. loved the job, saddened by what I see has happened in our society and in policing. Hard as it is to walk away, I’m glad I’m out. There was a time when I hoped one of my five kids would follow in my footsteps. Very pleased that the only one who showed an interest worked at my agency as a civilian while prepping for the Academy, saw the job and the crap that goes on with it, and has decided to go in another direction. We are going to have a huge problem with qualified, capable people taking the job. Society gets what it asks for.

  16. It is not much different in the UK. We old sweats stay for a number of reasons; because we are tied by pensions, a perceived lack of externally useful skills to facilitate the transition out of the job, or because we still want to continue to try to make a difference. But it is increasingly hard when the organisations, structures, and systems in place seem to thwart you, and support from those who should be lending a hand is miniscule in comparison with those same individuals pointing an accusatory finger. No wonder recruitment is stalling, new recruits are bugging out earlier than their predecessors and before they become tied, and the railway companies have no problem recruiting ex colleagues into a significantly better paid, less stressful, and more family friendly career. It is, and always will be, one of the best jobs in the world, but the cost to officers is becoming increasingly unbearable. The thin blue line is no longer a proud sash across the chest, it is a frayed, almost broken, cobbled and twisted together hardly functioning belt, barely holding society together, and barely able to protect the good from the bad.

  17. I have had my share of run in with the law but have always remained respectful you guys are doing your job and so many ignorant people today want to make the police villains i thank god for the police and the job you guys do because i couldnt do it and i pray each and everyone of you are able to return to your families safe everyday thank you for all you guys do keep up the good work and godbless you all

  18. Good article. But the police also need to know something: over 76% of the American public is supportive of the police. Recent surveys by Barna and others revealed that theres been a significant increase in support “among Hispanic and African Americans as well as youth.”

    • Maybe true. But I don’t think most officers care about the silent majority. When the minority (anti-police crowd) is the one getting all the media attention.

      I do true to write things that show them they’re supported as well.

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